50 years ago: Valley residents remember moon landing

Bill Reagan was 13 and at his home in his hometown: Brook Park, Ohio.

The images were really hard to see. We kids were all sleepy because it was past our bedtime, but Dad let us stay up because of the importance of the moon landing.

I was in awe.

It proved that we could do anything we set our minds and wills to do. Today I think of the great possibilities the human race can achieve if only we set aside our rivalries and prejudices.

I remember the image of Earth from the Moon. We all live on a blue ball of life. There’s enough for everyone. We are one human race. If only we lived like we really are, one people on one world.

Charley G. Kidder, Jr., Hometown – Victoria, Texas, was just a month shy of his 18th birthday. He was with his Church Youth group.

I remembered the feeling of awe and wonder as we watched the magnificence of the landing.

I was beside myself thinking that we had really achieved a supremely spectacular accomplishment fulfilling John F. Kennedy’s promise/dream/command. I was thinking that this was the stuff that would happen in a future time beyond my existence and yet, here it was happening before our eyes.

I remember feeling that we had just cracked the wrapper on exploring other worlds and was wondering if I would still be alive to watch us go to the other planets (even today, I am still wondering about that).

Mary Torres, of Harlingen, was 26 and with some friends watching the moon landing on a small black and white TV.

It was surreal and exciting! I couldn’t believe that we actually had landed a craft on the moon and one of our astronauts was planting the U.S. flag on its surface!

I thought about the technology, planning, ingenuity, and the commitment of the men who made the voyage.

I was very proud that the U.S.A. was the first country to reach the moon and of the place, it had achieved in the space race. At the time, it was exciting to think of all the possibilities that future space exploration would bring such as new discoveries and maybe even colonization.

I’m disappointed that the space program didn’t receive the funding needed to continue to develop similar programs during the last 50 years, but look forward to the future with private companies such as SpaceX and others who have entered the field with plans to revolutionize space technology and exploration.

Norman and Florence Rozeff — Harlingen

We remember exactly where we were when Neil Armstrong set the first human foot on the moon. How could we forget; the circumstances were so unusual.

We were on our way home after completing a three year assignment for the Hawaiian company that was creating a sugarcane plantation in southern Iraq. Being halfway around the world we had the option of flying in either direction upon leaving Baghdad. This trip with our children, Leslie, age 5, and David, age 2 ½, was to be through the Far East.

We were in Tokyo sightseeing on the Ginza with its many upscale department stores. The Japanese were, and are, very fad conscious and always anxious to be ahead of the curve. Television sets with outdoor sound were operating in many store windows along the street and inside, too.

In our travels we had not kept abreast of current events as English language sources were scarce and international news on television was hardly what exists today. When we saw crowds of people gathered around the TV screens we sensed something unusual was occurring. We stopped to look and to our surprise soon were literally viewing a scene “out of this world.” The powdery desolate black cinder surface of the moon as picked by the cameras of the landing craft had a vague familiarity to us for we had lived close to volcanic ash lava flows on the Big Island of Hawaii.

As Armstrong slowly descended the ladder from the craft, touched his foot on the firmament, and made his famous historic statement about mankind, we were filled with enormous emotion and great pride, both because of America’s scientific achievement and the huge significance of its success.

As we continued our sightseeing numerous courteous Japanese, instantly recognizing us as Americans due to our dress and demeanor, bowed their heads, smiled broadly and congratulated us. They seemed as pleased with the accomplishment as we were and anxious to share their joy with the nearest Yankee. What a proud moment it was to be an American overseas that day.

Lastly one must remember that it was still the time of the “Cold War”. Our country and her allies were trying to win the hearts of those flirting with communism. In a battle of technology with the Soviet Union, the United States had clearly won this contest.